Absolutely no one who reads Ears To The House with any kind of regularity will be surprised to discover we don’t think the dance music world does anywhere near enough to address problems such as sexual harassment on the scene. Yes, campaigns such as Rebekah Teasdale’s #ForTheMusic are doing sterling work – but this is sadly the exception rather than the rule.
We’ve attributed a number of different things to this. For example, the bro culture which has always been prevalent in the dance music world. Or the fact a fairly small number of people in high positions hold a disproportionate influence over things might have something to do with it. But is it fair to blame the dance music world alone for this?
In short, no. One of our regular sources was recently reading a book called “And What Do You Do?” by Norman Baker, a former British MP. The book is all about the Royal Family and is titillatingly tagged with the words “What they don’t want you to know”. And one section explains a sex abuse story which first hit the newspapers in the 1990s.
Peter Ball was a bishop within the Church of England who died in 2019 at the age of 87. He was also a convicted sex offender, having pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault and one of misconduct in public office in 2015. However, he was first cautioned for an act of gross indecency with a 19-year old man in 1993 – and for whipping a 17-year old who had been praying with him in the nude.
He resigned from the Church of England after accepting the caution – and not long afterwards, his linkto Prince Charles were revealed. In 1995, the Prince wrote him a letter which said “I wish I could do more. I feel so desperately strongly about the murderous wrongs that have been done to you and the way you have been treated”. And in 1997, he wrote to him again, saying:
“I can’t bear it that the frightful terrifying man is on the loose again. I was visiting the vicar… and we were enthusing about you and your brother and he told me that he had heard that this ghastly man was up to his dastardly tricks again. I’ll see off this horrid man if he tries anything again.”
You really are reading this correctly – Peter Ball had accepted a police caution over a charge of gross indecency and assaulting a 17-year old. Yet a member of the royal family was still sympathising with the perpetrator over four years later.
Now, is the dance music scene seriously taking the lead on its response to this issue from the British royal family? Of course it isn’t – it would be ridiculous to claim otherwise. But the Japanese are correct when they say a fish rots from the head. The scene’s response to sexual harassment is appallingly poor – but society at large is really not much better…